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Sylvan Hills gets by LR Christian

by Mitchell Gladstone | January 13, 2021 at 2:39 a.m.

For a little more than a half Tuesday, it appeared Little Rock Christian had figured out a way to contain Nick Smith.

Smith, the nation's 26th-ranked junior per 247Sports, scored just six points in the first 16 minutes, often frustrated by double- and triple-teams the Warriors sent his way.

But when the 6-4 guard drifted toward the back side of the hoop early in the third quarter, there was no question where the ball was headed. And once it landed in Smith's hands, the Sylvan Hills star had no problem throwing it down.

Smith's second-half outburst -- he scored 13 of his 19 points after the break -- combined with a 21-point performance from classmate Corey Washington lifted the Bears to a 78-62 win at home against Little Rock Christian.

Washington also overcame a slow start, missing his first three shots before making his next five while also grabbing 10 boards to lead Sylvan Hills.

"Corey and I are that one-two punch," Smith said. "You can't stop us because if you double-team me, I'm going to find Corey. If he gets double-teamed, he's going to find me. So really, it's unstoppable."

That wasn't the case early as the Warriors jumped out to a lead early, forcing a timeout from Bears Coach Kevin Davis.

Fortunately for Davis and his team -- or perhaps unfortunately -- they'd been there before.

"We're consistent," Davis said with a wry smile. "We've played three conference games and have started out in a hole all three games."

Yet, Sylvan Hills (11-2, 3-0 5A-Central) has found a way to win all of those games while stretching its winning streak to 10.

Suffering two losses in their first three games while playing without both Washington and Amarion Watson -- who added 13 points against Little Rock Christian (8-3, 0-1) -- gave the Bears a chance to establish their bench early, Davis said.

That paid dividends both Saturday, when Sylvan Hills came from behind to escape Jacksonville with a victory, and Tuesday, as all eight players who saw action recorded at least two points.

Although Little Rock Christian -- led by a pair of 19-point outings from sophomore Layden Blocker and senior Trey Jones -- pulled within nine early in the fourth quarter, the final result was secured long before.

"Our kids are working really hard," Davis said. "You learn from things you do in practice, you look at games like this on film, and we're just going to concentrate on the Bears."



Little Rock Christian picked up its second 5A-Central win in as many games, easing past the Lady Bears.

West Virginia commitment Wynter Rogers led the way for the Lady Warriors, dropping a game-high 29 points on 11-of-16 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds and 2 assists.

Midway through the second quarter, the Lady Warriors grabbed a 30-19 lead. Sylvan Hills responded, closing to within 39-35 early in the third quarter, then 54-51 with 5:30 to play. A 9-0 response from Little Rock Christian (11-1, 2-0) put the game away.

Sophomore Jayla Stirgus scored 20 points for Sylvan Hills (6-3, 2-1).


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